Is Your Company’s DNA a Wandering Generality or a Meaningful Specific?

And speaking of the richest man in the world… I recently stumbled on a great book on Amazon. It’s called “The Pumpkin Plan“. It’s a bit of a 23andMe test for entrepreneurial business owners.

Why the title…Have you ever seen those giant pumpkins? Those 300 pound behemoths that make the news? Author and sometimes WSJ small business columnist Mike Michalowicz makes the case that those pumpkins are akin to a profitable business. He lays out a compelling argument that the success of your business is as much a part of what you DON’T do as what you do. In other words, a growing company needs to avoid nonprofitable business.

Why I like it... On the surface, the idea that a small business should not be doing everything seems rudimentary, doesn’t it? However, I’ve known many small business owners that dilute the profitability of their business by doing too many things. The fact is, in the rush to stay afloat, many small business leaders say yes to just about every opportunity that comes along. Money is like air when you’re running a small business — especially in the early growth stage — and saying no to air isn’t easy. Perhaps it’s a defect in entrepreneur’s DNA that causes him/her to think “I can do this!”.

In any event, the book offers so much encouragement and hortatory advice that I have begun to recommend it to all the small business owners I know. The author makes his point with such enthusiasm (and off-the-cuff humor) that his arguments land persuasively. He is able to cut through the mind-clutter of a business owner and get to the deep psychological blocks that are keeping him/her from being successful.

What does the book say? Well, in a nutshell:

  • Plant the right seeds: Identify the thing your business does better than anyone else and focus all of your attention, money, and time on growing your company doing it.
  • Weed out the losers: Small rotten pumpkins stunt the growth of the robust, healthy ones. Figure out which customers add the most value and provide the best opportunities for sustained growth. Fire non-profitable customers.
  • Nurture the winners: When you determine your best customers, blow their minds with service.

Simple, right? If you’re a business owner, consider picking up a copy and see if you pass the author’s test for being a true entrepreneur.

I hope this helps.


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